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Ask HN: Startup failed after years of work – Can I even get a job now?
301 points by perfect_loop 6 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 186 comments
I quit college to work on my startup. After 7 years of work, it's almost game over (will be shutting down in a few weeks).

I haven't worked for anyone in years and I don't have a degree, but I've been coding for a long time, shipping real products to real customers... How do you think I should prepare for the job market? I'm 31 if it matters at all.






You might be surprised how in-demand you turn out to be once you start applying for jobs.

With this: "I've been coding for a long time, shipping real products to real customers", you're already ahead of many job applicants. Plenty of startups or established companies are looking for people with that kind of experience.

Your self-esteem and self-belief has likely taken a hit as you've spent a long time feeling like a failure.

I know the feeling well; it happened to me, and it took quite a while to work my way out of it.

The best thing to do is to be kind to yourself and take it easy for a while. You're not a failure. The thing you worked on didn't work out but that's fine, there are plenty of super-talented, capable people whose companies didn't work out through no fault of their own.

Take it gently work-wise; perhaps try to find some small contracts with small teams that you can work on in part-time, remote engagements.

But if you get yourself on a path where you're delivering projects and getting positive feedback from the people you're working with, slowly but surely things will turn around and before you know it you could be in a very good place.

Good luck to you. Feel free to reach out if you want more personalised advice (email in profile).


>> there are plenty of super-talented, capable people whose companies didn't work out through no fault of their own

There are also plenty of super-talented, capable people whose companies didn't work out through considerable fault of their own.

As I'm sure you know, building a company is hard, risky, and the wrong decisions paired with the wrong luck can kill you. Even if you are a failure at business, your skills and experience can still be of tremendous value to another company.


I know it’s meant as an image, but it’s an unhelpful image I think.

No, wrong decisions/luck in a startup setting can’t kill you. They can just make your startup fail. You’ll be absolutely fine.


I don't mean to be morbid, but sometimes people do kill themselves as a result of their business not working out.

A have been told that I am talented and capable.

I can tell you, I have often failed through fault of my own.

Some would say that failing through fault of your own makes you talented, capable, and in possession of hard-won experience that people who never fail will never obtain... Until they fail spectacularly.

This isn't a TED talk, I don't know what the answer is, other than if you're looking for a job, it's your job to put your actual lived experience in the best possible (but not misleading) light, and it's ok to have some humility about the mistakes you know you made.

Some people would rather hire those who claim to have never tasted of the bitter cup of defeat, others will value your battle scars.

Remember, you only need to find one of the latter kinds of employers, and the best way to prove that you have what it takes to succeed is to sift through however many of the former it takes to find the latter.

Good luck!


Hey Tom - Thanks for this post. I'm in a similar position and what you wrote really resonated and was uplifting. I'm going to shoot you an email, would love to ask a few questions and chat if you get a chance. Thanks!

Thank you very much, Tom.

I think I read your blog post many years ago about your situation, it's really great to see that you're doing well. Thanks again for all the great advice.


great post. I would also add that you staying at a struggling company for 7 years shows a great deal of tenacity (very desirable feature in a human!). Most people jump ship much sooner. You will be fine. as tomhoward said, don't beat your self up, excessive negative emotions don't achieve anything. Try to move past it (easy to say, hard to do, but, must be done).

I was in a similar situation 3 years ago. Like other people said, I'd focus on growth-stage startups (Stripe, Checkr, Airbnb, Opendoor, etc). I found their interviews more practical and approachable than Facebook, Google, etc. Most of the places I interviewed had me writing and running real code on my own computer.

I spent about a month prepping with:

* Cracking the Coding Interview

* https://www.interviewcake.com: curated set of ~50 questions with excellent step-by-step hints that don't immediately spoil the whole problem. Well worth the $250 — I didn't do any Leetcode-style problems aside from these.

* https://interviewing.io: Real, anonymous phone screens. This was amazing for me because I hadn't done a technical interview in 4 years and going through a real interview with a real person is totally different than practice problems.

Companies in SF will cover your costs to interview and usually will give you a relocation bonus as well, so don't discount moving down here :)


FYI, interviewing.io has its own tech screen performed by codility.com. One of their questions could be likened to a novel, and by the time I read through what computations I would need to perform to alleviate the protagonist's issues, the time was nearly up.

As someone without a CS degree, I want to second how good Interview Cake. It probably depends upon how you like to learn, but I found the interactive style of the site "clicked" with me. The UI is great, and the organization of the materials is also very clean. I found it friendlier & easier to work with than Cracking the Coding Interview.

I also got lucky -- the question for my phone tech screen at the company I wound up accepting an offer from was almost identical to one of the Interview Cake questions I'd worked.

I paid for whatever the shortest term membership was in the weeks I was preparing for interviews, and it was worth it.


OOC, does anyone know of a list of growth stage/fast growing companies out there? I feel like I remember seeing something like this a couple years ago but can't remember what it was called

I think you're looking for https://breakoutlist.com/

Sounds like great resources, thanks.

My advice: don't look at "big" companies. They optimize to avoid hiring the "wrong" person, which means to hire only people that come in with the exact set of skills they should be training for but won't. They won't value any of the incredibly valuable skills you've developed.

Instead, look at mid stage startups. But, find them through your connections and not by applying through job boards. People at those startups will get the value of what you've been doing. Shipping and getting harsh customer feedback is something you can't get in school and something people in big companies generally don't care about, which is why those companies can't innovate, despite hiring Chief Innovation Officers at 7 figure salaries.

Nothing wrong with wanting financial stability after seven long years. But if you go to a big company, practice your algorithm skills above all else and minimize talking about your startup experience. Sadly, it'll be either ignored because they won't understand it or they will bury it because it reminds them how they can't be innovative in their environment.


OTOH: It seems big companies often have more flexibility in what your skillset is. Yes the interview process is cookie-cutter algorithms, but the application process is "we want smart people no matter which language/framework you've used before". Like I know people who got jobs with Microsoft with little programming experience (but other engineering degrees), whereas my mid-sized company we only hire people with the exact skillset we use because we can't afford to have them not productive right away.

I would love to hear more about Microsoft. They seem like they are doing different things since they aren't considered part of FAANG. Smart on their part and sounds like a good place to work and a good model for other large companies to follow.

Microsoft interviews are purely core CS stuff. I think even for 4-5 year experience guys they ask mostly data structures and algorithms.

This is really good advice. To pile on, big companies tend to pigeon-hole their developers based on company needs, instead of considering developer skill. So a person coming from running a startup is probably going to feel highly constrained from the lack of autonomy and "big picture" involvement.

I'd totally hire a developer with a failed startup. Especially one that managed to stay around for seven years. That indicates to me that they know what they are doing, but the market feel out of their idea for some reason. Lots of great businesses go bankrupt because their product is no longer useful and it's difficult to pivot.


Let me second that. If you have been working for yourself for years, you really will get frustrated at the politics, red tape, etc of a big company and you will get pigeonholed.

I’ve never owned my own company, but after one short three year stint at what was then an F10 (non tech) company, you couldn’t pay me enough to work at a large company.


It sounds like you feel like a failure because your company came to an unsuccessful end, but to me you are a a success.

In fact you're an unusual success, for starting and then running a business for several years. That is quite rare! That sounds like six years of success to me.

I hope you can find a way to put that understandable feeling aside because you have learned many valuable skills and I assume have a perspective on development that extends far beyond what most developers have (what makes code really worthwhile in the field, what customers care about, markets, etc). In fact because the business didn't make it in the end I'm sure you spent quite a bit of time looking at what wasn't working.

I don't know what your business was or where you're located (some countries are quite negative towards businesses that didn't succeed) but it sounds like you have a lot of good skills and experience and I am sure there are many people who value that. If you're located in the US, such experience will be especially welcomed in SV, SF, NY, and even Boston.


tbh I have mixed feelings about the situation. I knew from the beginning that the risks were high and truly pushed hard and tried to make it work; that gives me a lot of comfort. On the other hand I made mistakes too, especially in the earlier days, being young and unexperienced...

I've worked with many people over the years who are somewhat passive about their missed opportunities. They talk about trying to start a business, and never go for it. They'll live their _entire lives_ with that feeling of regret that they never tried. you will not. Though I treasure my colleagues and friends, I wish I had more people like yourself in my work environments.

Also 31 is very young. I know people that started their first successful business in their 40's and imho they seem pretty happy to me. You've got lots of life ahead of you, and plenty of time to live it.


That's OK: everybody is inexperienced until they have experience.

Does your startup have any competitors? You can probably get a premium job with them and your domain experience transfers very well. People who have failed at rival startups are as valuable, if not more, than people who are successful, because they can bring in a perspective on what not to do.

This is actually a great idea. I’ve have some of my competitors suggest me working for them. Just be wary, whatever was the cause of your company’s closing after 7 years may also be impacting their company.

Thank you everybody for all the amazing advice, truly appreciate it. Some people have asked about my skill set. Aside from all the crazy business stuff I had to learn along the way, I was mostly focused on the product, which was a general-purpose optimizer for open source relational databases. I was in charge of high-level design and architecture and my 3 employees were the ones writing the actual code. But again, due to the nature of the product I was very much reading a lot of CS papers and books and the like.

I wouldn't call myself the best coder and to be honest I don't think I'd pass the FAANG puzzle interviews without some serious preparation. But I think I've amassed a lot of architecture and product design experience (along with debt lol) in the past 7 years.

There were also questions about my mental state. It was an extremely tough few years with lots of ups and downs and more than a few crying nights! but I haven't burned out. Oddly enough, I'm still excited about the startup world which is a surprise to a lot of people around me.


Sounds to me like you're an expert on relational database optimization. That's an extremely valuable specialty. Don't talk yourself down as "not the best coder"! You've been thinking about this problem for seven years.

Don't be too worried about the puzzle interview stuff. Many companies don't use them any more... and if you do want to apply someone that uses them I've heard there are excellent books that could get you fully up to speed in a few weeks.


First of all, sorry for the failure of your company. I've been there and it's not fun. I am also looking for work, but finding it pretty difficult. My advice, lean on your network.

Also, I am writing a book about startup failure and would love to include yours if you're willing. You can email me at founder.failures@gmail.com.

Look forward to hearing from you and good luck on your search!


Thanks Josh, I will email you when our company is officially shut down. I may have an experience or two that might be helpful to others...

Did you look into acquihire? Did you have investors and if so did you tap them for soft landing assistance? 4 people working on highly technical database stuff sounds like a team that could get acquihired. Which is a lot better way to fail than hard landing.

As a CTO, you're the kind of profile I'd be looking for and would consider (5 years old (start/scale) up with an engineering team of 5). As many explained, you have a grasp at the reality of building a business that most engineers will lack. It'll be easier for you to reach their "tech level" than the other way around.

If you're in the region of Brussels, or willing to relocate, don't hesitate to contact me ;) stan [at] drawbotics [dot] com


I think you're "depressed" (maybe not on an emotional level but at least on a professional level). Take some time for yourself once your adventure has ended. Don't try to "crack the coding interview". Interviews are biased with regards to the real-life situations they want to assert anyway, and with respect to "real-life" you've been cracking it for 7 years now.

That’s not true. The interviews are completely different than the kind of work you do when actually coding and building products. You ABSOLUTELY need to study and prepare for them because they are such an artificial test: solving puzzles on the whiteboard under pressure. I had nearly the same thing happen to me as OP, and doing Leetcode for a few months meant getting an offer from a company whose interview I had previously failed several years ago.

You’ll cheer up when you look at levels.fyi and see the compensation at these big tech companies. Don’t waste even more of your time at another startup, go straight to FAANG. If you want, I can even refer you if you reach out.


How is it a “waste of time” working for a startup?

If the startup fails and he is good, he can call a few recruiters in any major metropolitan area in the US and get another job.

There is no part of me that ever wants to work for a large company. But that’s just my preference.


Opportunity cost.

It’s important to have grounded expectations in terms of your equity lottery ticket ever paying off. If it does, it often only brings you back to the same level of compensation you would have received at FAANG during that time.

i.e. Receiving a $1M equity payout (sounds like a lot, right?) after 5 years of hard work at below market salary at your startup annualized is equivalent to making the same amount of money guaranteed liquid and risk less at Google.

In this current bubble cycle, so far, there has only been one Facebook.


I wasn't referring to taking a "below market salary" by any means. But the advice to "learn leetCode and work for a FAANG", sounds like generic advice you get from r/cscareerquestions:

Q: "I live in Omaha Nebraska with three kids and a wife. I'm a self taught developer. I've been doing PHP/WordPress sites for 5 years and I want to know what should I do to change jobs"?

A: "Learn LeetCode and move to the west coast so you can work for Google".


Your experience in building the startup is highly valuable. If you're going to look for a job, you will be most likely asked architectural and system design related questions, with Data structures and algorithms problems for screening at some places. You will easily find a well paying job with your experience and portfolio, don't worry.

Hell, if they managed to muddle along at a startup for seven years (that is, it took seven entire years before it failed) they've probably picked up enough to be super valuable in non-programming roles. SEO, UX, (perhaps especially) product owner / strategist or (maybe) project manager. With that experience I think they're Doing It Wrong if they shoot for a software dev position, unless that's just really where they wanna be. They ought to consider agencies that have people in those roles (product strategist especially) if all else fails. Some are quite good.

Bonus: interviews for those positions are probably less stupid.


Agreed. A product owner or a product manager is what people in OP's position usually go for. And they draw very high salaries from what I've seen. Companies must desperately want people in OP's position.

Yeah unless you're going FAANG or finance that's a much, much nicer track to be on.

After 7 years at a startup you’ll be a very useful person.

Other startups (especially founders) will want you because you will because you will understand the realities of running a company that their non-founding employees are often shielded from (think making payroll etc).

Your proven ability to wear different hats when necessary will be favourably looked upon.

You’re 31 and it is a great age!

You’re young enough to avoid being (age) discriminated for an individual contributor tech roll, but old enough to also manage a team.

Just apply for jobs, you can always switch jobs down the track.


/roll/role/

... I shouldn’t be writing comments on HN on a phone!


haha damn. Tech is scary place to age. ppl have to be reassured that 31 is still young. ;D

It all depends on YOUR attitude and less about the employers that will hire you. If you interview with middle management, it may be hard for you to show your worth but if you interview with anybody who is an "owner" (stakeholder in the company), you will most likely be hired right away.

Owners know it is very hard to find people that can "think like an owner" and make decisions based on the company's interest vs their own. Obviously, you have to "fit in" for a while (being the new guy and earn the respect of your peers) but I would say that if you can "think like an owner", you would be put into a lot of responsibility fairly quickly. Thinking like an owner means NO POLITICS (you are not trying to move up the ladder), NO EXCUSES (get stuff done and ship it) and WORKING ON THE RIGHT THINGS (able to prioritize properly the pile of work). Unfortunately, you have to play those games for a couple of months (and eat a lot of pride in terms of job title and pay just to get in the door) but it will all work out shortly.


This is really good advice. Only issue is it's not easy to gain the trust if founders.

Happened to me too. I've found a job in 2 weeks. Take some time to rest and build your energy up again and you'll be just fine.

In my mediocre Midwestern city wages are stupid-high (for the area—they've gone up like 20+% in the last two years) and anyone who sounds like they have half a clue and isn't sitting there with 3-5 years of clearly-mediocre experience saying they're looking for "leadership opportunities" (HARD PASS) are getting snapped up as soon as they hit the market. Source: have been on both sides of the table recently. In the worst case, OP will not starve.

Man! And here I am after 8 months failing to invert a Binary Search Tree or validating a Binary search Tree without much luck. Time to hit leetcode I think.

Not sure how you could go 8 months and fail problems like that. Maybe after a month or two you should have focused a bit more on what the interviews are looking for...

Yeah hit leetcode nonstop. No way around it, no matter how much you hate it, no matter how much u think its stupid.

You should be able to land something fairly quickly after leetcodeLyfe. good luck.


I don't get it, I never had to do any leetcode to find positions and receive offers. Why are people recommending this like it's gospel?

The new generation are frankly idiotic in how they do tech interviews, which were already not great. Google and Facebook made this situation much worse. It has become a meme.

Leetcode simulates how several first-round tech screens go.

You have to whiteboard on the interview too. Its not just the tech screens.

I must have surpressed those awful memories.

posted it based on what GP posted about binary trees.

The most important advice that you're getting in a nutshell: you will be just fine if you give yourself a few months off to recover.

This is downtime for emotional and mental health is not optional if you want to avoid burnout.


>> you will be just fine if you give yourself a few months off to recover

This is insensitive. Given the situation, it is very wrong to assume that he can afford to take any time off. Where I come from, failing startups don't usually pay that well.


We are both speculating.

However, since it's my comment and I can believe what I believe, I believe that someone in his position cannot afford to not take care of themselves.

People who don't take care of themselves end up hurting or dead.


I agree. I wish you a soft landing on the shutdown. You'll be better than you might imagine. Keep going buddy.

You may have that "founder personality" that makes it a little hard to work for other people. If you get over that, you should actually be a pretty good candidate, assuming you may have technical AND marketing/business skills right now. I don't think not having a degree will be a huge deal breaker for you.

When my first startup failed and I was looking for a new role the hardest part wasn't persuading potential employers that I was capable technically, but that I wouldn't be leaving to start a new company in 6 months. That "founder personality" is seen as a downside by employers looking for someone to fill a permanent role. Getting over it, and demonstrating that you're over it is important.

In an industry where 2 year (or less!) tenures seem common, are "founder personalities" really a much higher risk?

It seems a sad thing to have to suppress.


In an industry where 2 year (or less!) tenures seem common, are "founder personalities" really a much higher risk?

The bit of the tech industry I work in (building web apps for SMEs in the UK) people stay in their jobs for 10+ years. It's actually a problem because it makes recruiting really hard.


Heavily depends on where they're based, but not having a degree will be a deal breaker, at least in Indian / most Asian organisations.

That's definitely a non-issue in Europe.

Yes you can! I've dropped out of college after I was offered a job I could only dream of in my early twenties, stayed a couple years, climbed the ladder quickly there and in another company, had some side projects which eventually became startups (they failed, obviously!), went back to work for established companies.

Nowadays whenever I have interviews, most interviewers are actually more interested in my old startups than in my "corporate" experience.

You have to understand that the experience you gained in your startup is what differentiates you from the masses. You have gained a rare skill set that is highly valuable, took some risks and most likely learned much more than anyone who followed the classical route of college to corporation.

Be confident in your skills! If it helps, write down everything you've achieved in your startup, mistakes that were made and how to avoid them. And as I would recommend to anyone, keep studying : read about new techs, try them on small 2 day projects, refresh your memory every now and then on key concepts in your field.

Good luck my friend!


Chin up buddy, as everyone has said, plenty of companies want people with your experience. I was in a similar position, my company was not growing anymore and I became a little nervous, so I started thinking in a Plan B just in case. Turns out it was pretty easy to get an onsite interview at facebook because they're looking for people with that kind of experience: “shipping real products to real customers”. I think if you prepare and apply and prepare some more you will be fine my dude. :)

I'm 32, we're the new young!


Using throwaway: Have been in that situation. Don't drag it any further. Call your friends ask for referrals , inform your customers and let them know you are looking for full time job. It's time to use your network !!!

Actually start applying for jobs.attend few interviews and then start to prepare. You will be just fine.


Relationships can be your biggest asset. After 7 years in the industry I imagine you made a few friends. Reach out to them see if they/their company are hiring. They will know of your experience and skill first-hand.

Other than that just get out there. Send out some resumes, go to local events, that kind of thing.


That's true, thank you very much.

Like others here I was in a similar boat. 36, 4 years at a failed startup followed on by 18 months of consulting/contracting.

I can't stress this enough -- put the time in to coding interview prep. Don't hate the game, think of it like a fun challenge. You don't need to know every question out of the box but interviewers will pick up on your confidence, attitude, and willingness to play. I spent about 2 - 4 hours a day for a few weeks doing this and it paid off (5 offers from 7 interviews at tech firms.)

It was difficult to get interviews at some firms (Google wouldn't return my calls) due to the resume. However, ones that do interview are usually impressed and interested in your startup history. Startups are hard!

Good luck!


> Don't hate the game, think of it like a fun challenge.

Seriously. So many people spend so much time hating on it and refusing to even get involved, but if you look at it rationally, it's by far the best return on investment you'll get for your time in your entire life.

Around 5 years ago I spent about 40 hours studying for the interviews for my current job. I got the job, and I'm now making $300k more per year than at my previous company, where I was pretty much capped out. So I'm now making $7.5k/yr more for each hour that I spent prepping for those interviews. Note, that's not $7.5k/hr, it's $7.5k/yr/hr, so the value only grows with tenure in this job vs if I'd stayed where I was.

It doesn't matter if it's not the best way to evaluate applicants or whatever, it's how things work, and you need to play the game to reap the rewards. Doesn't matter if you don't enjoy it; there's a colossal amount of money at stake. Force yourself to do it. Not everything in life is pleasant, and most unpleasant things in life don't even come with rewards. People who opt out on ideological grounds are cutting off their nose to spite their face, because they could be foregoing a better job paying a lot more money.


“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” - Sir Winston Churchill

You have an incredible amount of experience that is invaluable to wherever you go. The success of a company is built on the learnings from failures of its employees.

Take a breather, look around, and embrace new opportunities!


Don't overlook boring non-tech companies as well. I've noticed non-tech companies starting to (almost indiscriminately) hire tech people to upgrade their outdated tech stack. They might pay a little below market, but they are also more forgiving/desperate.

Another is to reach out to old friends from college, or try to search for alumni. Alumni from the college you dropped out of are likely more sympathetic than the others.

FD: Just got a tech job at an insurance company. So speaking from exp.


I just want to add that I went this route straight out of school. I work at a manufacturing company. It can get tough sometimes as there is almost 0 infrastructure to support development. However, in the almost 2 years I was here we completely revamped the process, previously the company used consultants and one our apps is spaghetti code.

Pros: very laid back, your work will significantly impact day to day of other employees ,You will probably get to decide what framework to use and when to move to new tech ,You will build/debug/maintain

Cons: only few people will understand your struggles(I actually plan on using discord to have people to bounce ideas off and just be a part of dev community) ,often you need to wear different hats ,management may have a hard time understanding that sometimes the simplest things can take days.

As far as pay goes, some non-tech are actually pretty competitive in my area. Also, I interviewed at one of the largest auto auction companies, got an offer but weirdly the CTO told me that the grass is always greener on the other side, as I was telling him I'm thinking to switch to a larger team and a more structured environment, that is way I was considering the move.


My chillest job ever was writing code at a non-tech company. It's exactly as you described. Very rewarding when you can impact your entire team with well placed solutions.

You are a technologist with hands on business/startup experience.

This is unbelievably valuable especially in leadership positions. Especially in the case if your startup wasn't just you.

A lot of this also depends on what you are looking for as well. From your statements you may be thinking looking for a job as an Engineer which is great if it is what you want to do.

I believe you have other options if taking a job as an Engineer does not sound ideal to you.


My recommendation is to go to Amazon. They run internally like a large collection of tech startups and are constantly looking for people with entrepreneurial experience to lead these small teams. And the pay is exceptional.

Doubled my salary after a failed startup. Highlight the technology or market you became an expert in on your resume.

Technical details aside, some questions I would want clearly addressed in resume/cover letter would be:

- demonstrate that you are a team player. I don’t want a hot shot that started their own company because they needed to satisfy their ego.

- you’ve been the boss for your entire career. Are you sure you’re ready to work for someone else?

- what non-technical lessons have you learned that can apply to my job opening?

- something attracted you to start your own company. What part of your passion makes my company attractive to you?

I’m not implying YOU are any of these but they are concerns that I would have with such a candidate. Note that I started my Company 17 years ago and still worry about what I’ll do next!


FWIW, I find clear-sighted post-mortem blogs fascinating to read. There have been a few where a founder has set out the vision, the challenges they faced; those they solved and those they stumbled on.

Those that are well written and insightful usually make me want to work with that person.


You should try to join an established later stage startup. Think about the skills that you have acquired and the experiences that you have been through. Very few people are able to start with an idea an execute a product. If you have experience selling to customers that is also a big plus. Later stage B2B companies are always looking for good salespeople as well as creative problem solvers. Your experience with the start up is a plus if you can frame it properly. Many of the people who I know that are now successful actually failed with their first start up. They were able to bring their learning and determination to help their current company succeed.

My first job was 7 years at a startup. The grit and git-er-done you have from there is hard to find in the marketplace of employees; you'll be fine.

How to prepare? I'd sit down and do a postmortem. What happened... what you learned are inevitable things you need to process for yourself and are helpful interview fodder (only when asked!) Also think carefully through what you learned about what you liked, disliked, what you did well/not well at, and what you naturally gravitated to vs avoided. Those three lenses sometimes tell you different things. Pick your next job appropriately.


Hit up some recruiters and contacts that you made along the way. You WILL be fine. Take some time off though... give yourself a 2 week vacation so that you don't "jump right into" the grind again.

I was once in a position that sounds very similar. The hardest part for me (besides dealing with the failed startup) was that the tech-jobs recruiting machine had changed considerably over my 9 years out of the market and my old bag of job hunting tricks wasn't working anymore. I took a course with these guys (https://www.outco.io/) and the job offers started rolling in within 3 weeks. Highly recommended.

It all depends on where you want to work now.

If you intend to go work at FANG or similar companies, then you absolutely need to refresh your data structures and algorithms knowledge, and riddle solving knowledge. Without refreshing these domains, especially the riddle solving, you will fail the interview.

However if you want to work at small - medium sized companies that ship real products and value people with a proven track record, then you will be totally fine.


One of the questions I ask during interviews is to tell me a story about how you failed or broke something in production. 90% of the time anyone who says they never failed or never broke anything is either lying or doesn't have enough experience. People who tried hard at a startup that failed usually have the most interesting stories, have learned tons, and are better equipped to hit the ground running at a new place.

Some questions for you to think about:

* What do you want to do? What excited you about your work at your startup? Do you want to keep doing that sort of thing, or are you looking for a change?

* What kind of environment do you want? Startups are awesome - I've worked for 3 of them. But big companies can be awesome too - I work for one now. They're a different experience. Are you looking to stay in startup mode? Are you looking for something bigger? Even within startups, there is the product discovery phase and the scaling up phase - do you find one more interesting than the other?

* How big is your startup? If you start applying to larger tech companies, they'll look at the scale of your work (were you architecting for multiple dev teams? Or did you startup consist mostly of one team? What scale did you reach in terms of number of customers or complexity?)

* Did you develop domain expertise in a particular area that you could leverage and you'd want to? If you've been focusing on the same problem for 7 years, chances are you have developed a rare expertise in an area, and you probably have insights that would make you uniquely qualified for certain roles out there.


Had similar experience a few years ago. After 5 years startup failed. Turns out I've gained a lot of valuable experience during those 5 years since start-up usually means moving faster - you learn more. Honestly, just find some recruiters - I know everyone hates them and says their industry should go away, but with them I found a gig within a week. But since you know how to code you'll be fine, you have valuable skills.

I've done this cycle 3 times now.

If anything, talk about my work on the previous startup tended to dominate my interviews. Employers seem fascinated by this out of the ordinary experience.

I've found that, if anything, this experience tends to differentiate you from the herd. Just be sure to practice talking positively about the experience even though the business itself may have failed.


I spent 3 years as cto cofounder at a startup. After leaving I interviewed at lots of startups but I did not get much interest despite many having what I would consider a tech leadership vacuum. I ended up taking an offer from a FAANG and I am better off for now. This is in NYC and I have a degree and more varied corp experience so results may vary.

Develop "the hacker" mindset and recon your target jobs and companies. Recon the target and find out everything you can about them. Use sentiment analysis to discern the type of personalities that operate the business. Locate their social media and Linkedin profiles. Pay attention to their style of writing, use of words. Do your homework and use the tools available; to social-engineer your success. Once, you have all of the contact points and information about the company. Profile them and tailor your approach. Widen your research to their customers and so on. Keep it all. If and when you approach them, do it in such a way that leaves them with no doubt as to your abilities. It helps to understand the role and the reason why they are recruiting. What problem is it that they are trying to solve? In your application, you should tailor your approach that is nuanced to meet their expectations. Good luck.

You have two choices: either be stuck in the past and look backwards with “what if...” “would I...” never ending thoughts, or literally just stop that downward spiral, put the past over, take the best and learn from it and look forward.

Been there. It took me way more time to look forward than it should because I did not have the support I should.

And for a lot of people, but not all, being stuck in the past with ruminant thoughts is more likely. Other people ends things quickly and just look ahead. While the past did happen, it did.

Now look for your nex 10 years or 20 or more years, and look backwards. The way you choose to solve this, the actions you take will define you.

Hope this only makes you stronger and let it go.

Note: What I did is to add myfailed startups as “client” jobs.


Here's my somewhat similar situation and experience so far.

Was in 3 startups as CTO in Beijing, China for a total of about 5 years. Two folded and the last one took off. Then decided to move with family back to the USA (Bay area). Have been looking for a job for three months.

Except for google, the large companies did not even respond.

Mid sized companies - things go well up to and including technical screening. Then, a wall is hit with the hiring manager and I get a "will not be proceeding to the next step" email. I'm 52. So, age may have a part in it.

Small companies and startups - better response, but usually they dont know what the hell they are doing.


At 31 I was in my third job that paid over 6 figures. I still don't have a high school degree.

Experience counts, I know, you just have to convince them.

If you've been running a business for 7 years, I'm sure you have the experience that people are looking for.


I've learned long ago that there are no real failures in life.

Only various paths with different outcomes. Some outcomes are negative, some might yield a positive result but in almost all cases, it's a win/win.

You should see your situation not as a failure but an huge accomplishment, you've gained ton of experience, dealt with many issues outside of your scope and have grown. Running a startup for 7 years shows serious dedication .

I will echoe what others have said, just take some time to rest if you can afford it and brush up on whatever skills deemed necessary.

Congratulations on sticking with it for so many years!


What is your location? Many early/seed stage startups are starving for operational people who can take care of a broad range of tasks. We are one of those - I can't find your contact, so please email me.

I'm not in tech, but from what I read on here Anyone who can actually build something that works is a rarity.

Buy "Never Split The Difference" and remember; they need you More than you need them.

You can always paint houses, or sell cars in the short term so that you don't starve.

And hey: Good luck on Your Next Venture!


How you prepare to find a job depends on where you are, but a lot of employers consider X years of real-world job experience to be an adequate substitute for a CS degree for the purposes of hiring. Don't worry about not having a degree; you have an autodidact entrepreneur's diploma. You delayed the expected failure of your business by six whole years instead of cratering after the first.

You'll probably have to finish your degree if you want future promotions, though. If my presumptions are correct, you were close to finishing?


To be honest, there will be many companies who will discriminate against you due to a lack of a degree (a lot of big ones that have the most stable environments require it). However, it's not impossible to get a job at a place that has lax entry requirements. Even some well known companies like Google and Facebook would probably like such experience. You can also get contracting gigs without much trouble, but some contracting houses don't have the best benefits as being an employee at a company.

Unless you live far from where companies are, I really don’t see why you would have any problems at all getting a job.

I didn’t even start coding until I was 36 or something, and definitely didn’t spend 7 years doing something as useful as running a company, and I had no trouble at all finding work after a few months, in Stockholm and Copenhagen, both pretty small cities.

I bet you can get a well paying job within a week. No need to prepare anything, except a short CV and a cover letter, you’ll be extremely attractive on the job market.


Unfortunately if running a startup means sacrificing or holding off on getting a mortgage, studying or establishing a family (which it often does) you will be at a major disadvantage in a place like Stockholm today. Literally hundreds of thousands of dollars behind your peers and everything that means for attaining a good quality of life.

No. Running a company is a more attractive experience for most employers than a degree, ESPECIALLY in a place like Stockholm.

About the other stuff, the guy is 31, there’s plenty of time. And I don’t think the question was even about that, it was about work wasn’t it?

Also, not that many people in Sweden will have saved hundreds of thousands at 31. I would say that most younger people with apartments in attractive areas borrow or received money for the down payment from their parents.


> No. Running a company is a more attractive experience for most employers than a degree, ESPECIALLY in a place like Stockholm.

It doesn't really matter if you are attractive to employers when they won't pay you much more than anyone else.

> About the other stuff, the guy is 31, there’s plenty of time. And I don’t think the question was even about that, it was about work wasn’t it?

Work isn't just about work. Someone who wants to be successful, or at least not unsuccessful, of course have to consider what they are getting for their work.

> Also, not that many people in Sweden will have saved hundreds of thousands at 31.

They saved hundreds of thousands by not having to buy at today's prices. Add to that the high taxes on work income, but not on e.g. inheritance or real estate, and you might never catch up.

In fact you will be paying other people's education, parental leave and kids while paying twice the mortgage for at least twice as long as they do. That is if you can even get a mortgage and are aren't just paying market rents in a suburb somewhere.

Stockholm is just a shitty deal at the moment. But that isn't even the point. It is that by running a startup someone might very well have become disadvantaged and that is something that needs to be considered. Some things will very much not solves themselves. Given the choice I would absolutely advice anyone to go to Berlin instead of Stockholm these days.


It feels like you are getting quite far from the original question now.

I don't think so. Your original comment doesn't really reflect the challenges someone would face getting a job in Stockholm today as a result of doing a startup instead of having joined their peers in the more traditional route of university, mortgage and kids. You might very get a job and a similar salary, but you will instead pay the price over time in finances, quality of life and competitiveness.

I would say that is very relevant to the question since picking the correct job market will be crucial to whether they will be able to transition to a normal career or not. In a place like Stockholm you mostly can't since you likely won't have, or be able to make, the money for a decent life at a decent cost in many years. If they were to instead choose a job market that looked different in terms of housing or taxes they wouldn't be at the same large disadvantage and would instead just have to recoup the years spent doing something else.


Did you read the question? It has nothing to do with choosing the right market.

He asks if it will be hard for him to find a job and the answer is “no”, it won’t be hard. He is not asking if he should have made a different choice 7 years ago or if he could have had more savings in the bank.

And he is most definitely not asking about Stockholm, that was an example from _my_ life.


The question is not how to get any job, but how to join the job market effectively. That is hard to do that in places like Stockholm today, because the increase in cost of living de facto means taking a pay cut. If you are 25 you might be able to afford to wait a few years and hope that things go your way, but not at 31 when most people would and should expect more.

So the answer isn't really "no" when the condition to getting the job is spending years saving for the down payment of a hundred year mortgage at huge prices just to have somewhere decent to live. I don't think anyone is surprised that regions with these conditions have a shortage of talent. It might however be true that getting a job in Berlin won't be a problem, but that isn't universal. Your experiences doesn't really match the situation today.


Why do you keep talking about Stockholm and Berlin? Does he even live in Europe?

And the guy is not moving anywhere, so there’s no pay cut. He just wants a job. Read the damned question. He will get a job within a week unless he lives in Japan or somewhere where they are very formal and inflexiable about education requirements.

I get it that you thikn Stockholm housing is expensive but it’s really irrelevant to the question so please leave it.


You mentioned Stockholm as an example of being able to get a job anywhere. I am saying that this is incorrect because there can be large consequences of moving to or staying in places _like_ Stockholm. This will apply to other cities as well. It doesn't take Japan to get a significantly worse deal by not following the traditional route.

The author is looking for advice on what to do the prepare to enter the job market. That is why people are discussing things like whether to finish a degree, practicing interview questions or trying to join FAANG. Part of that preparation is looking at what you actually get for your skills. And in some places, that had a certain development, you will get a lot less for your skills by not having followed a traditional route. That is something very relevant to consider.

I will now leave the question however, because it is pointless to go on.


I am in the same boat (by a bit more at almost 10 years at the same failed company). I have been looking for work since last September and no takers... I don't know what to tell you other than that if you want to work for a "known" company, prepare yourself for an interview where you have to whiteboard contrived puzzles.

If it isn't clear, anyone reading this who might be looking for a primarily self taught programmer with 12+ years of experience, feel free to email me. Send to postmaster at imetatroll.com.


"Shipping real products to real customers".

You're going to be just fine.


Just thought I'd add that you'll not only be in demand as a developer but probably very much as a product manager - especially for startups looking for product / market fit.

Startups looking for product market fit aren't in any better position than OP is :)

Plenty of other comments have covered what a great position you're in, and I agree. To take full advantage of what you're seeing in this thread, it would be very helpful if you'd post where you live and where you might be willing to move to. Any info on topics you're interested in would be great, too.

And like everyone else, my team (Azure DevOps) is hiring. If you want to live in Raleigh, Seattle, or Hyderabad please send me an email :).


Microsoft? I applied for a half dozen jobs over a week ago. Referred by an MS employee too. Still have heard nothing. Then I applied at Amazon this week and have two different Amazon recruiters reaching out to me. What does it take to get a hold of a MS recruiter?

Wow, 7 years is something. For me it was 1.5 years full-time - 2 years as a whole - but that was sufficient to be really low. (And 30 at the time) Still, finding a job was a piece of cake. Despite sub-zero self-esteem, it was very easy to get on interviews which would either result in an offer or at least a "probably there is a way".

Most important is to update your CV properly and have someone else proof-read it I guess...


I think your quite hireable. Working on your own startup for so long must have diversified your skills. Your profile could very well be suitable for a product or an engineering manager role. As you can wear multiple hats.

31 is an awesome age - don't worry too much about that.

Since you have been shipping real products, adding them to your portfolio would add a lot of value.

There are also ample remote oppertunitues nowadays. Here is a curated list of remote job boards -

Recommended

https://news.ycombinator.com/jobs

https://www.producthunt.com/jobs?remote_ok=true

https://www.producthunt.com/jobs

https://remoteok.io/

https://weworkremotely.com/

https://remote.com/

Others

https://codefund.io/jobs

https://www.remotejob.rocks/

https://www.remotelyawesomejobs.com/

https://www.flexjobs.com/

https://www.workingnomads.co/

https://remotive.io/

https://www.skipthedrive.com/

https://www.remotey.com/

https://angel.co/jobs

https://remotehub.io/

https://remoters.net/jobs/

https://wellpaid.io/

Good luck!


Yeah. "...real products to real customers..." makes you the kind of developer everybody actually needs. More of them realize this than you think. I also have no degree (well a music degree, but that's basically the same thing), but I've gotten jobs at startups, global conglomerates, and big name tech companies on the same thing you've got. Feel free to email (see profile).

I'm reading about Ray Dalio's life and he nearly went bankrupt before becoming one of the top 100 richest people in the world.

Don't let yourself down by thinking you are failure. You may identify yourself with your project but the skillset you took out of that experience and newfound humility you got from seeing a project fail is something that you can bring to the table at your next gig.


I would list all of the things you did and show clear growth over time and you'll be fine. People like hearing a truthful story about someone who had a shot at their own business and I'm sure doing your own thing will have shown you can deliver something of value even if it's proved difficult as a viable business. There must have been successes and lessons along the way.

Good news for you: You're entering the job market at some of the lowest unemployment numbers seen.

You don't need a degree once you're able to demonstrate your experience. Just update the CV, curate your Github and float your best code examples to the top for discussion & visibility by others, and do your research on the company & people whom you interview with.

You got this


You made it to 7 years, that in itself is worth celebrating. I'm 3 months in and I'm already shitting bricks as to what it's going to look like if we have to fold.

Take a break, wander for a bit, get your mojo back. As many others have said here, your experience, while uncommon is valuable to some folks.


If I were to employ someone, I’d say your experience would move you to the top of the pile. Your startup may not have worked out, but you must have learned so many important things along the way! About coding and shipping real products, but also about business, about ideas, about people...

Good luck, you’ll do great!


You should be fine. Start applying for jobs. You have 7 years of experience. If you want (and can afford it) go finish your degree. Professors are definitely a resource and, since you will be more experienced than most, mentor people we owe it to the new CS people to help them in anyway we can like those who have helped us.

Thanks a lot for the tips. Unfortunately, credits from my school expire after 5 years, so I'd have to start from the beginning and to be fully honest I really don't think I'd benefit from the material anymore as me and my team were grappling with pretty hard CS problems for the past 5 years that truly pushed me to learn and internalize a lot of CS.

It's worth calling up the CS department at your school, or going in person if you're still in the area, to see about possible exceptions. A lot of these rules aren't written in stone, and since you have been keeping up with programming these past 7 years you should have no problem getting right back into the swing of CS undergrad. The rule might exist just to prevent students from being set up for failure if they attempt to return to complete a long-abandoned degree whose subject they haven't even thought about recently, which won't be true in your case. And they may want to make accommodations to bring you back, as having diversity of age, experience, and especially industry experience is important to a lot of college administrators.

So don't rule it out until you have a serious conversation with them about it!


100% agree with this, a lot of the rules exist to cover the common case. The common case isn't your situation, so they may empathize with you. Industry experience is also important as @CydeWeys pointed out.

You have enough work experience to get into the Oxford M.Sc. in Software Engineering if you ever decide to do that.

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/msc-softwar...

Lambda School is hiring for multiple positions and as a growth stage startup would probably love a former founder.

https://lambdaschool.com/careers/


At most regionally accredited schools in the US, the credits do not expire. They stay on your undergrad transcript forever. It is the degree requirements that expire. And it is the transferability to other schools that degrades. You need to investigate this further. It may be that your credits did not expire, but your degree plan did, and most of your previous credits would still be usable for an updated degree plan.

Otherwise, tell us what school expires its credits, so the community can avoid it like plague.


> I really don't think I'd benefit from the material anymore You'll still be fine. A lot of successful programmers don't have degrees. I am a fan of formal education you learn a lot beyond the course material but you don't seem like you are at any loss.

You need to find a manager who was an ex-entrepreneur or who has had a fast growth in their own career (ie been at a fast growth company).

You will 90% of the time not be able to work for anyone else.

Its going to be a harrowing journey for sure but finding an ex-entrepreneur as a boss would be a great thing.


It is sad to hear that. I wanted to know the reasons for this. Were you not able to manage or what?

Another commenter recommends interviewing at https://lambdaschool.com/

But I would recommend applying and attending. You will very likely get a great job after you graduate.


I would love to meet you. IMHO, your experience is very valuable. gabriel@slicingdice.com

perfect_loop: Let’s chat. Email me at james.griffin [at] degreechamp [dot] com. I’ve actually been searching for a product manager/head of product for awhile. We have a pretty small team of technologists already working on the product. Admittedly, the salary will be much lower than you’d get at a FAANG, but it’s a fully remote position and I can get you an offer in 1-2 weeks. I’ve been funding it with a software consulting business I built, so if you’re interested in both products & services that’s a major bonus!

- James Griffin, CEO of DegreeChamp


I started working for a consultancy agency after failing my startup, I think it helped with my personal brand and confidence levels but in the end it's mostly in your head and you can do whatever.

If you've been coding and shipping you'll be fine.

Here's a plug for $EMPLOYER https://sendgrid.com/careers/


We’re hiring, and I’d be very interested in a candidate with your experience. I don’t care at all about not having a degree. Email me if you’d like to move to Missoula, MT. lance at submittable dot com.

I would hire you.

Maximizing efficiency, prioritizing, creative thinking, solving real world problems within short deadlines — these are all super important for any business and within your proven abilities.


I was also in the same situation; quit college,run startup for 7 years and quit. except i was 29. After meeting a lot of startups and interviews i got a job in a startup which works in the same domain.

Add your email to your profile - would love to reach out and chat.

You should be fine, but I suggest asking yourself whether you’ll be able to go into a normal job.

Some things once known cannot be unknown : you’ve seen how the sausages are made ....


Tbh I enjoy building new technologies, that hasn't changed at all. That's why I'd rather get into the startup world again, which many people think is crazy after 7 years lol

Shoot me an email, can definitely see if we have a fit for you. I love people who know how to ship great products and care. jared@confidentcannabis.com

almost same thing here. It were 14 years of entrepreneurship ( i'm 45 now ) and i didn't have a college degree ( when i smelled the bankruptcy, went back to college and took a 2.5 years "short graduation" ) but even before that i had landed my "first" nine-to-five job... since then, moved to better and better positions 3 times, as long as you can code, you will be just fine.

We’re doing something probably not to far from what you were doing. Want to talk? Mstump@vorstella.com

Do consulting work for one/some of your customers?

I've been where you're at a few times. The best advice I got is: nobody will contact you for a job. Go out and make it happen.

Showing that level of dedication and loyalty will look impressive to many prospective employers. I think you've got this in the bag.

im in a similar boat and have definitely felt some resistence so far. not certain but it feels like some cultural mismatch (ie recruiters are looking for younger people without a need of work-life balance yet? or maybe it's the "founder" mentality?). the sample size is still small, but the struggle is real. will probably just start up again...

If you're in the san francisco bay area I'm sure there would be tons of people that would be interested in talking to you

I don't think that was a failure. You were able to work for yourself for 7 years. That in and of itself is an accomplishment.

Yes. You should be fine. Look into work for a start up through YC. Many early stage companies would value your experience.

What stack are you familiar with?


I would love to hear your story.

You’ll be fine work wise. Be honest and transparent. Focus on the technologies used and the actual projects.


I'm in the exact same boat. 5+ years of startup after dropping out and looking for a sales position. Hang in there.

Have you considered a career in VC? Given your background, experience and skillset, it'll be highly regarded.

I am in the same boat. Feel free to reach out at ideavalid@icloud.com if you want to work on something together.

You'll be fine and also make a ton of money. Just do a few coding interview questions just in case.

You have been working for someone: your customers. Hopefully you got some good reviews along the way.

You will be just fine, shipping real products to real customers is invaluable. What is your skillset?

read cracking the coding interview and leet code. Then use your startup as precious work experience and meticulously detail the value you contributed in your domain. A failed startup is not the issue, it’s getting noticed... so your resume needs careful crafting

Just to add to this, your resume is a chance to brag about your accomplishments. I've seen a lot of people treat making their resume as a painful homework assignment and they drag their feet through it. In reality it's a story that you get to write.

Thanks a lot! The book looks great will order right away :)

I definitely wouldn't worry. Your experience is still experience. :)

Email me hn (at) joinjune (dot) com

I know a lot of folks hiring. Happy to pass your resume along.


perfect_loop: would love to chat. We're currently looking to scale our small team, and I'd love to see if there's a role for you here. DM me at christian [at] legalist [dot] com. :)

Christian


Thank you so much! I will contact you the moment our company is officially shutdown (for various reasons and considerations regarding our users).

Please add your email to your HN profile. Would love to reach out.

I can’t comment as to your job prospects, but the few people I know that chose to not finish their degrees and instead start companies tend to exhibit the Dunning-Kruger effect with respect to their understanding of CS fundamentals and software development best practices. If you’re looking to remain a software dev, as much as it pains me, you may want to look into Leetcode, Project Euler, TopCoder, etc and assess your skills.

If you aren’t married to being a dev, you might want to look into a product management or business development role as those roles may better use your experience


In what part of the world do you live?

UserLeap would probably hire you.

Any work you did on GitHub?

Move to bay area and join an early stage startup, either as a cofounder or as a first engineer.

I'm financially ruined at this point so a move to bay area would be a little difficult for me. Oddly enough, I'm still passionate about startups so this might actually work for me if I can find a way to finance it!

Join a funded startup that's growing quickly. These (supposedly) pay market rate salaries (although "market rate" is rather skewed in the Bay Area these days...it probably won't be FAANG-like). They're also always looking for people, and they have an immediate market for every feature they put out (which can be a big help in avoiding the burnout/depression that comes with a failed startup), and your financial outcomes on average are usually better than with early-stage pre-product-market-fit startups.

That's great advice. Thanks a lot :)

A lot of companies offer starting bonuses and relocation packages, and of course they will fully pay for flying you out for the on-site interview. Do NOT rule out a potentially life-changing career move just because you're a little bit short on money now, especially because that's not even a real hindrance!

Where are you currently based?

I shut down my first major startup at 28 after 6 years of back-breaking work. In the process, I raised $xx million, experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows. I was devastated and burnt out, and it took a long time to fully process everything and move on.

It's great that you're planning out your next steps now. Finding a decent-paying job to make ends meet is first priority. From what you've revealed in this thread, I'm confident you'll figure something out quickly.

Eventually, after the stress from shutting down the company and finding a new job dies down, you'll have time to do some serious reflecting on what's come to pass. It doesn't sound like you're at that stage yet, but here's some advice when you reach it:

1) Recognize What Was Lost

Don't get stuck in denial. Be honest with yourself about what you've lost, and don't try to trivialize it (yet). Perhaps you had giant hopes and dreams and they were crushed. Perhaps you feel like shit because you didn't meet your goals. Whatever it is, lay it out and don't hold back.

2) Recognize What You've Gained

We tend to lose sight of the positives during a time of crisis/failure, but trust me, even if you can't see them right now, they exist :). Being the founder of a startup is one of the highest pressure jobs you can ask for. That pressure can feel like shit sometimes, but it also forces you to grow. That growth is valuable, in and of itself. Perhaps you grew your engineering skill set. Perhaps you became a savier business person. And, perhaps there were tangible assets or friendships that you gained -- those count too.

3) Honestly Assess the Situation

One thing I hate more than anything else is when people say "I wouldn't have chosen it any other way". Fuck that haha. The stress of shutting down a company and operating in close-to-failure mode sucks! Running a wildly successful company would have been much preferred.

That said, also be honest about how it's not all bad. You grew as a person and there are lessons you learned (or can learn) from the experience. And, you have an awesome story to tell one day :).

Don't label yourself as a failure. Your company was a failure. You failed to achieve your goal. You are not a failure.

4) Recalibrate Your Values and Move Forward

So, why are YOU not a failure? To answer this question, you have to take a hard look at your personal values. What do you think is important in life? What are you chasing after?

To me, values are the measuring sticks by which people quantify success in life. Whether or not we realize it, we constantly measure our actions against our values, and how we 'measure up' determines our self-worth.

If what you value most in life is being a successful founder, you are gonna feel like shit!

But, what if what you value most in life is becoming the best version of yourself OR acting with integrity OR contributing postiviely to society?

In my opinion, there's no such thing as 'good' or 'bad' values, but some values sure are hard to live up to (primarily because they're largely outside our control). The good thing is you can change your values to make sure they realistically align with your life.

If your values are straight, you're ready to move forward. Take some time off if you need it to completely unwind. The motivation will come back with time -- it's only human to have drive. Good luck!


Yeah, you'll be fine.

Retire from capitalism and join a gift economy. We're starting to build one and are currently coordinating via Facebook while we find a better fitting platform. We're literally days into this. https://m.facebook.com/groups/416107742551498?multi_permalin...

Would you be interested in helping build a platform where people help each other meet needs through giving?


not that we need to start a economic/political discussion here, but I wanted to give my two cents in the <1% chance it adds some value to your idea:

I (and many other people) think that because money (and capitalism as a whole) is more liquid than a barter economy, that it provides much more value to society than a barter economy.

It's just so much smoother to allocate resources with money. You don't have to do a receiver to giver search every time you want to exchange a service/product, and rather can create close to zero cost exchange through the technology that is known as money.


To be clear, I'm referring to a giving economy. Bartering/exchange isn't free giving...it's giving with an expectation/obligation for a return gift.

We're going to try the money-less route, first, to see how things go & possibly bring in money down the line. The main issue is many people have developed really deeply entrenched scarcity mindsets when dealing with money, so providing a money-free economy of free giving can serve as a space for people to operate free from triggering their scarcity.

Having written that, I realize I just made a case for allowing money because some people have a need to learn how to freely engage with money. For me, my desired strategy for dealing with my triggers is to practice triggering myself and disentangling the trigger to find its root & heal it (usually by modifying my beliefs). That would mean having a safe place to practice using it, like in a gift economy.

Thanks so much for your comment! We hit the <1%!! I recently started healing my relationship with money & I think this'll be a great way for me to create a healing playground for money.

As for the giver search, I don't think the design is going to require so much interaction. I'm applying a new theory of mindful design to it, which is about respecting attention, being mindfully usable, preserves connection, and responsibly uses emotions. The site is meant to require as little attention to it as possible to be useful, so when you make a request, bots take over to get things moving. Or so I imagine. That's just one thought; the project idea's days old. Besides, when gifts are given freely, things can move really smoothly.




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